Is Climate Change the “Defining Challenge of Our Age”? Part 1 of 3

Part I: Ranking global warming among present-day risks to public health.

challenges_of_civilization

Guest essay by Indur M. Goklany

There seems to be no limit to the hyperbole surrounding climate change – and that’s no hyperbole. Numerous politicians have informed us over the years that climate change is one of the most important problems facing mankind.  In fact, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called it the defining challenge of our age.”

But is it?

I answer this question in a paper just published in the refereed section of Energy & Environment.

A 2005 review article in Nature on the health impacts of climate change estimated that 166,000 deaths were “attributable” to climate change in 2000. This estimate was derived from a World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored study that even the study’s authors acknowledge may not “accord with the canons of empirical science” (see here). But I will accept this flawed estimate as gospel for the sake of argument.

In the year 2000, however, there were a total of 56 million deaths worldwide. Thus, climate change may be responsible for less than 0.3% of all deaths globally (based on data for the year 2000). This places climate change no higher than 13th among mortality risk factors related to food, nutrition and environment, as shown in the following table.

Specifically, climate change is easily outranked by threats such as hunger, malnutrition and other nutrition-related problems, lack of access to safe water and sanitation, indoor air pollution, malaria, urban air pollution. And had I included other risks to public health beyond environmental, food and nutritional factors (e.g., HIV/AIDS, TB, various cancers, etc.) then climate change would have ranked even lower than 13th.

With respect to biodiversity and ecosystems, today the greatest threat is what it always has been – the conversion of land and water habitat to human uses, i.e., agriculture, forestry, and human habitation and infrastructure. See, e.g., here.

Climate change, contrary to claims, is clearly not the most important environmental, let alone public health, problem facing the world today.

But is it possible that in the foreseeable future, the impact of climate change on public health could outweigh that of other factors?

I will address this question in subsequent blogs.

Risk factor

Ranking

Mortality (millions)

Mortality (%)

Blood pressure 1 7.1 12.8
Cholesterol 2 4.4 7.9
Underweight (hunger) 3 3.7 6.7
Low fruit & vegetables 4 2.7 4.9
Overweight 5 2.6 4.6
Unsafe water, poor sanitation 6 1.7 3.1
Indoor smoke 7 1.6 2.9
Malaria 1.1 2.0
Iron deficiency 8 0.8 1.5
Urban air pollution 9 0.8 1.4
Zinc deficiency 10 0.8 1.4
Vitamin A deficiency 11 0.8 1.4
Lead exposure 12 0.2 0.4
Climate change 13 0.2 0.3
Subtotal 27.6 49.4
TOTAL from all causes 55.8 100.0

Priority ranking of food, nutritional and environmental problems, based on global mortality for 2000. Source: I.M. Goklany, Is Climate Change the “Defining Challenge of Our Age”? Energy & Environment 20(3): 279-302 (2009), based on data from the World Health Organization. Note that malaria isn’t ranked in this table because deaths due to malaria were attributed by WHO to climate change, underweight, and zinc and vitamin A deficiencies.

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127 thoughts on “Is Climate Change the “Defining Challenge of Our Age”? Part 1 of 3

  1. There are close to 1 billion people in this world who are, literally, starving. This has nothing to do with AGW/ACC/Climate Pollution and everything to do with money, politics and power.

    How can local (African for example) farmers compete with EU subsidies where imported food is cheaper than locally grown food?

    Keep people hungry and in fear and you have total power.

  2. “…lack of access to safe water…”

    This will be problematic. I imagine this will be the “limiting reagent” on population growth.

  3. Without cheap energy, you cannot produce cheap and plentiful water and food or build effective industry.

  4. Every generation needs a new ‘idea’ to ‘campaign for’.

    When I was growing up in the 1970s I was bombarded with messages about ‘wimmin’s rights’, ‘gay rights’ and ‘black rights’. Whilst the principle was fine, the messages’ total effect on a white straight boy growing up were to place his grouping as the blame for all the world’s ills. With all the attendant emotional issues which will arise as a result……….

    It’s the same with climate change. There are relevant issues there, but the fight and the message has distorted the picture beyond repair. There is no longer a worthy cause to fight in my opinion.

    But it will still be fought, because the religion has taken hold.

    It’s like all religions: slip out the mantras up front, make sure you stack the evidential deck for inexperienced recruits to stop them asking awkward questions and get them on the streets unquestioningly.

    There is no conceivable question that there is NOT dangerous climate change currently.

    But there is also no doubt that the words ‘dangerous climate change’ now have code status in politics.

    So I say: forget all the words and focus on what change is necessary.

  5. Considering that it is estimated that about 2 million children under 5 die from diarrhea every year, I think that “unsafe water” number might be low. Measles kills about 500,000. About the same number die from flu every year.

    If we are worried about “climate change” then it means times much really be so good we have no real pressing concerns to occupy ourselves with.

  6. Dr. Goklany — perceptive and big-picture oriented as usual. To be commended.

    But you did leave out one thing I might have included: Namely how many die from cold.

  7. In the mail today I received a packet (6 pages of inserts plus the large envelop) from Robt. Kennedy and the Natural Resources Defense Council. They also provide a petition for me to sign. Which of the 13 risk factors in the table above do you think they wanted my money to help alleviate?

    Ah! Trick question. The answer is “none of the above.” Sarah Palin is the scary witch of the North. OK, so global warming is mentioned.

    One of the pages starts with “Polar Bear SOS!” (in large red letters) and continues:
    “Dear Friend, The distress signals coming from the Arctic are now loud and clear as polar bears suffer the terrible effects of global warming and melting ice.”

    It gets worse. Anyway, the world’s rich & famous have gone crazy. The money spent to prepare, print, and send this packet (if one sends $20 they will send you a tote bag with a print of mama bear and two cubs) — the money spent could probably fix Risk factor #8 world wide.

    Knowing that the bears are doing well and the Arctic ice even more so I don’t plan on sending them anything. Over the past few years I have gotten fed-up with these stupendously stupid scams. I now give directly to people I know are in need.

    I hope Dr. Goklany’s “challenges of our times” report will cause some of those pushing these false issues to reconsider and take on one of the real problems they can have some success with. Rant over, John

  8. “Ok fine but what about the aminals?”

    You are a human animal,
    You are a very special breed.
    For you are the only animal
    Who can think, who can reason, who can read!

  9. Low fruit and vegetables can kill you ! OMG!

    So can staying up late nights gridding weather stations . . .

  10. Such arguments might work on rational people who actually hold general human welfare as a priority value.

    However you assume that “Human Welfare” as measured by mortality rates matters to,

    [1] The Hard Core Greens,
    [2] Committed Malthusians.
    [3] People who participated in banning DDT.
    [4] Distant corporate shareholders looking for an increased return on invested $$$.
    [5] Charlatans and Conmen out to make an easy $$$.
    [6] Psychopaths that have charmed their way into positions of power, influence and non-accountability.

    However – don’t be discouraged, I’m looking forward to the next installments.

  11. The defining challenge of our age is tackling political stupidity and venality. Watts Up With That stands as a shining beacon to reason and common sense. Keep up the good work, guys.

  12. evanmjones (23:01:04) :

    “Ok fine but what about the aminals?”

    You are a human animal,
    You are a very special breed.
    For you are the only animal
    Who can think, who can reason, who can read!

    evanmjones – A friend of mine had two German Shephard dogs. An older female and a younger male.

    We were sitting in his loungeroom with the young male dog lying on a couch. The female walked into the room, and did the following,

    [1] Stopped, looked around, and assessed the situation.
    [2] Went over to a corner of the room and picked up a tennis ball with her mouth.
    [3] Went with the ball and waved it in front of the young male, who sat up with interest.
    [4] Spat the ball back into the corner.
    [5] The young male then promptly jumped off the couch to fetch the ball.
    [6] She jumped onto the couch and lay down.
    [7] The young male returned with the ball looking to play – she ignored him.
    [8] The young male lay down on the floor.

    Ahhh… wrt “Who can think, who can reason, who can read” she never showed evidence of being able to read – but since that day I have never doubted that a smart dog can both think, and reason.

  13. I wonder how these risk factor tables are made.

    There is no doubt that if we make a table for the year 1900, 100% of people will be dead and the table of cause will not be saying ” his/her oil was finished” as we say in greek. It will be a list of diseases that the doctor signed and then we take that as risk factor.

    I would be more interested in deaths below the average expectation. If the average is 75 years, what is the difference in the cause of death between the people dying below 75 and above 75, or between the lowest 20 percentile and the highest 20 percentile. That has a practical meaning. That we will all die of something is inevitable. It is premature deaths that one should compare with, in my opinion.

    In this case I believe starvation and malnutrition would be leading.

  14. RE evanmjones (22:56:37) :
    This study http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/nr/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.asp?ID=22183
    Notes the following for the UK.
    “There are around 40,000 more deaths during winter months December toMarch than expected from death rates in other months of the year”

    “Around two thirds of excess winter deaths can be attributed to the effects of cold”

    Our housing stock is pretty bad for insulating against cold weather, but “Fuel Poverty” is becoming more of an issue, especially since solid fuel fires in new-build homes are about as common as rocking horse faeces!

  15. Note that malaria isn’t ranked in this table because deaths due to malaria were attributed by WHO to climate change, underweight, and zinc and vitamin A deficiencies.

    And intentional deficiency of DDT.

  16. Maybe it’s just me but from eyeballing the this graph since 2005 it looks like, if I squint really hard, that the average ice area since January 2008 should be much higher than the average from Jan 2005 to December 2007.

  17. We’ve clearly got more space for another few billion yet, so population is a problem – but not yet (that’s not to trivialise it). We all know climate change isn’t a problem at all. Cancer and heart disease are top of my list.

    By the way, everyone here in the UK has gone Swine Flu crazy – or rather the media has, and that has in turn made people worry. The UK government is to issue a leaflet to every home in the country outlining what to do! Seems everyone has stopped worrying about Bird Flu to concentrate on this instead. Climate Change? Oh that’s so last year! But when we get four hot days in a row in the summer (if we do) the BBC will run a piece on it again, and everyone will forget about Swine Flu.

    Funny old world, isn’t it?

  18. With Blood Pressure,Cholesterol and being Overweight contributing 25% of the total mortality factors, CC seems a very minor concern for first world countries.

    Seems a problem of sloth and excess,shameful really.

    Thanks, Indur, for the reality check.

  19. The thing that puzzles me is that if I avoid all the risk factors given in the list am I going to live forever? I mean where does death from old age creep in?

  20. “Defining Challenge of Our Age?”

    Climate change can be worked into the factors of other changes, at will – changes like drought, disease, flood – without any kind of real proof.

    A few really nasty, world wide natural disasters would wipe out “climate change” effects in a heartbeat.

  21. “Note that malaria isn’t ranked in this table because deaths due to malaria were attributed by WHO to climate change, underweight, and zinc and vitamin A deficiencies.”

    So much for all those stupid theories about mosquitos. And especially having to memorise the Life Cycle of the Malarial Parasite in school.

  22. The situation is even worse that expected, at least according to speakers at the meeting called “Melting Ice Regional Dramas, Global Wake-Up Call” in Oslo this week.

    “There is indeed a risk that we will be among the last to live in a time of bountiful ice and snow; but such a future is not inevitable. I sincerely believe that today will mark one important step towards a different future, one where longing for the first winter’s snow remains a basic part of the human experience”, Foreign Minister Stoere said during his opening of the conference on Tuesday.

    Dorthe Dahl Jensen, an expert from Denmark’s Niels Bohr Institute claimed “Antarctica and Greenland have been sleeping until now, now they are awakening giants.” The flow of melting ice into the oceans has picked up, and at the current pace sea levels will have risen by three feet by the end of the century, she added.

    http://www.norwaypost.no/content/view/21953/26/

    http://tinyurl.com/cyr8jo

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30460831/

  23. The situation is even worse that expected, at least according to speakers at the meeting called “Melting Ice Regional Dramas, Global Wake-Up Call” in Oslo this week.

    “There is indeed a risk that we will be among the last to live in a time of bountiful ice and snow; but such a future is not inevitable. I sincerely believe that today will mark one important step towards a different future, one where longing for the first winter’s snow remains a basic part of the human experience”, Foreign Minister Stoere said during his opening of the conference on Tuesday.

    Dorthe Dahl Jensen, an expert from Denmark’s Niels Bohr Institute claimed “Antarctica and Greenland have been sleeping until now, now they are awakening giants.” The flow of melting ice into the oceans has picked up, and at the current pace sea levels will have risen by three feet by the end of the century, she added.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30460831/

  24. Wow – that’s quite a list… and for the first time in any such list, Smoking isn’t listed as the biggest killer ever. That must be because those on that particular Crusade have now banned smoking everywhere… isn’t it nice that that worked and stopped all the smoking deaths?

    Anyway, this is sounding like what many of us have been saying… do we really need to abandon all of the actual problems in the world to “tackle” the one that we can’t do anything about???

  25. Excellent piece of writing. However, as evenmjones says whay about the cold. It may be on its way as I type! What will be the official death toll as a result of the recent winter?

    And the WHO can cloud the issues by attributing deaths due to climate change, one can do that with anything one likes, as there is simply no way of disproving it. Also, the WHO has left out that other dramatic dealer in death & distruction, undersea earthquake followed by the resulting tsunami, what was the death toll according to the UN? Wasn’t it around 250,000 as a minimum, which leaves CC deaths way behind & it was all perfectly natural! What are the death tolls for earthquakes this century alone?

  26. Good report Dr. Goklany – generally consistent with the Copenhagen Consensus.

    Also, cold kills more than heat – much more. Global warming, if it were true, would probably improve the lot of humanity. History tells us so.

    The reality is Earth is cooling, perhaps severely, and we are unprepared, as we continue to obsess over non-existent humanmade global warming.

  27. In other news, another Scientist with his snout in the trough has softened his stance on Global Warming. I quote:

    Second, burning fossil fuels is having a measurable and very-probably dangerous effect on the climate. Avoiding dangerous climate change motivates an immediate change from our current use of fossil fuels.

    Note the “probably”. It seems the sceptics are having some impact!

  28. Excerpt from above:

    A 2005 review article in Nature on the health impacts of climate change estimated that 166,000 deaths were “attributable” to climate change in 2000. This estimate was derived from a World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored study that even the study’s authors acknowledge may not “accord with the canons of empirical science” (see here). But I will accept this flawed estimate as gospel for the sake of argument.

    ***************************

    OK for the hypothetical basis of this paper, BUT:

    In my opinion, this WHO study is completely without merit. In total, more people would have died if Earth had become colder during the study period.

  29. Low fruit and vegetables can kill you ! OMG!

    So can staying up late nights gridding weather stations . . .
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  30. Didnt the WHO say the biofuels push as a result of global warming alarmism has caused another 30 million to slide into poverty because of rising food prices

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7472532.stm

    Also the cold kills many more than the warmth. As I understand it in the UK alone 25,000 people over 65 die every year from cold related causes.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1089933/More-25-000-elderly-die-cold-fuel-poverty-hits-pensioner-households.html

    This will only increase as the Green movement seeks to increase the cost of fuel and so fuel poverty will become more widespread and many more will die.

    I think if we added the numbers its getitng to the point where we could say more people are dying because of global warming alarmism than actual of any climate change!

  31. We do not seem to miss the dinosaurs so perhaps we will not miss the polar bears. Lets face it, millions of species have disappeared from earth since life began. Do we have to ‘save’ every single one?

  32. “But you did leave out one thing I might have included: Namely how many die from cold.”
    Good point – mortality rates, particularly in the elderly rise substantialy in the winter months. There are other risk factors that need mentioning but in particular modern transport ( motor accidents) should probably be in the top end of environmental risk factors.

  33. Quote;

    “One of the few silver linings of the seasonality of mortality is the impact of global warming on wintertime deaths. One study suggests that an increase in temperature of roughly 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of this century would boost total heat-related deaths in the United Kingdom more than threefold, to just under 3,000, but the number of cold-related deaths would drop by 25 percent, or 20,000, to 60,000.”

    http://www.slate.com/id/2088323/

    So based on this proportion if Global Warming causes 166,000 deaths every year then it also save more than a millions from dying from the cold.

    In reality if the current cold continues to deepen we will see many more of the vulnerable die unnecessarily because of Global Warming alarmism and the failure of governments to prepare.

  34. Without the headline figures issued by the alarmists put into the perspective of percentages, the general public has no way of evaluating true risk, and it’s an unfortunate trend that affects matters beyond the climate change agenda. I first started questioning the whole global warming propaganda when I stumbled on some statistics relating to CO2. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I read, about 95% of the greenhouse effect is created by water vapour, and that only about 3.6% is created by CO2. Given that only 3.2% of all CO2 is produced by mankind, despite all the green lobbies quoting how many millions of tons of CO2 we annually produce, when analysed into percentages, lead me to the conclusion that even if mankind suddenly ceased to exist, the effect on the climate would be ludicrously small. Or have I got it all wrong??

  35. Environmentalism has alread killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s.”
    Michael Crichton, Science writer and author ‘State of Fear’.

  36. The “true believers” already have this line of reasoning covered. It’s the “tipping point”, stupid! Any day now, we’ll reach the CO2 tipping point at which temperature will suddenly skyrocket and beyond which all will be lost. The current global temperature decline can be visualized as a cliff-diver squatting down for leverage just before he leaps off into the abyss. Dr. Hansen proved all this with “new math” and The Goracle has confirmed it with his “third eye”. Better be on the safe side; shut down 52% of all U.S. power plants today and wander the woods naked with a stick, searching for grubs!

  37. Matt, go to green hell blog–it’s not a study, but it’s an accusation.

    Not in “accord with the canons of empirical science”–pretty much sums up all AGW hysteria. Doesn’t it?

  38. I think the first order of business is to re-define terms. It is no longer AGW that we are concerned about, but Climate Change. It seems the Alarmists have rigged the debate. During the warm seasons we have AGW; during the cool seasons we have Climate Change. The WHO report really has nothing to do with Climate, but with weather. Climate is a statistical construct developed to aid us better understand very long term changes to precip/temperature changes over certain areas of the globe. Statistics never killed anyone, but drastic changes in enviormental conditions do.

    Also, we should but an end to the notion of “a stable climate” (an unfortunate misnomer created in the wake of Mann’s MBH9X reconstructions). Atmospheric patterns, we hope, never become stable (or barotropic as meteorologists like to say). Climate patterns (statistical anomalies) also vary over time -there is no “steady state”. Just look at precipitation patterns (a much more important parameter over time IMHO) across the tropics and subtropics. The rapid variations in precipitation patterns due to oscillations of our oceananic SSTs, which are well recorded in both proxy and anthropological records, put to rest the notion of “a stable climate”. In just the last 1200 years alone we have seen drastic oscillations tropical and subtropical precipitation patterns that covered large swaths of our globe. And these precip variations have nothing to do with GHGs.

    It is difficult to debate if the terms of the debate are not clearly defined. Once Climate Change is nailed down to specifics, and once we begin to look at precipitation patterns, the debate takes on an entirely different meaning. Let the Alarmists chase ice flows -the majority of the worlds population lives in the tropics and subtropics.

  39. UK Sceptic (23:35:52) :

    “The defining challenge of our age is tackling political stupidity and venality.”

    We’ve lost that challenge. We’re all gonna die!

    “Political stupidity” and “political venality” are both redundancies.

  40. As the economic meltdown continues people will not care one bit about a bunch of scientists warning that CO2 will burn the world up at the same time the world is cooling.

    This will be a real black eye for science.
    And tens of billions of taxpayer dollars have been thrown down this rat hole.

  41. “Chuck (03:49:49) :

    Sorry OT,
    But Australia just had it’s coldest weather recording on record for April today of -13 at Charlotte Pass, in the snowy mountains. But of course weather isn’t climate.

    http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/minus-13-degrees-the-coldest-its-been-in-april/11794

    Maybe OT reply, but this (I missed it on the news tonight) bolsters my posts for some time that it *has* been cold downunder this this spring, summer (Not ignoring the Victorian bush fires) and autum, even before winter really sets in. Last night, I had to break out the dooner (Duvet) it was that cold here in Sydney’s inner west.

  42. Poor little things.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25392386-30417,00.html

    WHILE early snow falls were welcome news at Thredo at the weekend the sudden cold snap has been singled out as the most likely culprit behind a spate of mysterious bird deaths at Parliament House in Canberra.
    Cold snap theory in bird deaths
    The tiny migratory birds were found clustered together outside a glass walkway on the Senate side.

    The sudden temperature change could have caught the birds by surprise and without shelter they would have been vulnerable to the cold, said Maree Gilbert from ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands Department.

    “We’ll give them (bodies) to the government vet to have a look at,” she said.

    Breeding in the mountains during summer, the birds move down from the ranges in autumn to warmer weather near the coast.

    The ACT Government vet will carry out autopsies on the birds this week.

  43. evanmjones (23:03:21) :

    >>Low fruit and vegetables can kill you ! OMG!

    >So can staying up late nights gridding weather stations . . .

    Not at all, there’s a typo, it should’ve referred to “picking low hanging fruit”.

  44. Sorry Nick
    I posted the same as you.That story made me wonder how many animals and plants are hit by the cold as well.

  45. Again, everyone has it wrong. Last night there was a report on tv that the melting of the glaciers and ice in Iceland is going to reduce the “ice/snow plug” on top of a volcano. The threat is that with the reduced weight on top of the volcano it will explode and erupt again spewing millions of tons of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere. The significance? They claim this is the same volcano that exploded several hundreds of years ago causing the mini ice age in the Northern latitudes. So, our contibution to Global Warming is going to cause Global Cooling! Who said we can’t control Nature and Earth? There was something I noticed they sort of ignored- What caused that ice and snow to melt before the last eruption? Hmmm?

  46. “Noelene (04:50:15) :

    Poor little things.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25392386-30417,00.html

    WHILE early snow falls were welcome news at Thredo at the weekend the sudden cold snap has been singled out as the most likely culprit behind a spate of mysterious bird deaths at Parliament House in Canberra.
    Cold snap theory in bird deaths”

    Could the same “theory” be used to explain the lack of flies this past summer (Due to a cold snaps)? To me, it seems to correlate.

  47. The #1 present day risk is poor reasoning abilities of the populaces as it leads to ready manipulation by various “controllers” for causes that do not consider real risks to the population.

  48. evanmjones (22:56:37) :

    Dr. Goklany — perceptive and big-picture oriented as usual. To be commended.
    But you did leave out one thing I might have included: Namely how many die from cold.

    But deaths due to cold are the result of global warming doncha know?

  49. You could fit every human being, shoulder to shoulder, on the Isle of Wight. You could home every human being, with a little garden that can produce enough food to feed them, in Texas. This planet already provides massive abundance for all, but it is controlled and restricted by the global have’s, to control the have nots.

  50. “Garacka (05:22:10) :

    The #1 present day risk is poor reasoning abilities of the populaces as it leads to ready manipulation by various “controllers” for causes that do not consider real risks to the population.”

    Get this person a VB, well said.

    Today, spoke with a friend who was “concerned” about the levels of CO2 pollution (That 380ppm so damaging trace gas). I asked him what was in fizzy drinks that made them fizzy? Had no idea that it was the same “polluting” trace gas.

  51. “Ken Hall (05:42:55) :

    You could fit every human being, shoulder to shoulder, on the Isle of Wight. You could home every human being, with a little garden that can produce enough food to feed them, in Texas. This planet already provides massive abundance for all, but it is controlled and restricted by the global have’s, to control the have nots.”

    VB for you too. Well said and totally accurate (Posted myself, the IoW reference).

  52. “Barry Foster (00:38:21) :
    Low fruit and vegetables will kill you if they’re flying fast enough.”

    Yup, and low flying tundra, too !!!

  53. “Noelene (04:50:15) :

    Poor little things.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25392386-30417,00.html

    WHILE early snow falls were welcome news at Thredo at the weekend the sudden cold snap has been singled out as the most likely culprit behind a spate of mysterious bird deaths at Parliament House in Canberra.
    Cold snap theory in bird deaths”

    I have an alternate theory… While flying in tight formation, at top speed, to escape the cold… the poor little birdies flew head on into the glass walls that were constructed by the government…
    Patiently awaiting autopsy results,
    Mike

  54. Whether politicians launched, or captured ‘the pirate ship global warming’ as a serendipitous gift, they are deploying a huge defensive flotilla to defend her from further lethal hockey stick-shaped torpedoes while she limps home to port in deteriorating weather. Her destination is the Copenhagen conference. Her plunder is carbon tax. Her owners will then be happy to let her sink, having a fleet of new vessels in mind, off assured income from the plundered treasure.

  55. I agree climate change is LAST among major concerns.
    This is affirmed by the Copenhagen Consensus 2008 or PDF

    Only “R&D in low-carbon energy technologies” to benefit Global Warming is ranked 14 out of 30. Otherwise Global Warming Mitigation with R&D ranks 29th and Global Warming Mitigation alone ranks LAST – 30th out of 30.

    What is rarely recognized, is that Peak Oil is becoming the greatest defining challenge of this next generation. It is rapidly bearing down on us and could easily cause far greater financial harm than the present “crisis”, with consequent devastation of famines with hundreds of millions of deaths by starvation.

  56. I don’t know much about flies Pat.I lived in Laverton in WA for a while,and I was familiar with the fly salute there.My daughter played with an aboriginal boy called Gus.He used to annoy the life out of me because he would have flies sitting in the corners of his eyes and on his runny nose,and he would never brush them away,they just sat there.
    I did find some facts on flies

    http://www.viacorp.com/flybook/fulltext.html

  57. Is Climate Change the “Defining Challenge of Our Age?

    No, not even close. Climate change is supposed to happen. That’s not to say that humanity has not affected climate, but man’s role in climate change pales against that of nature.

    We’re tilting at windmills here. Better to spend our time and money on things we can change. Poverty, or real pollution, for example, are problems we can actually reduce, if not eliminate.

  58. Ken Hall (05:42:55) :

    You could fit every human being, shoulder to shoulder, on the Isle of Wight. You could home every human being, with a little garden that can produce enough food to feed them, in Texas. This planet already provides massive abundance for all, but it is controlled and restricted by the global have’s, to control the have nots.

    And you won’t help the have-nots by bringing down the haves.

  59. “Pat (21:53:55) :

    There are close to 1 billion people in this world who are, literally, starving. This has nothing to do with AGW/ACC/Climate Pollution and everything to do with money, politics and power. ”

    People are starving because food is cheap… OMG, do you have any clue as to how STUPID that sounds?

  60. Climate change only hints at the defining challenge, it is not the actual challenge. The defining challenge is whether we can reclaim our lives from those who would manipulate and regulate us, whether it is the AGW crowd, financial wizards, big government or single issue fanatics in general.

    Climate change fear is only a symptom; the common root cause is behind all the issues I have just named, and is a willingness to be herded when someone says “it’s too complicated for you to grasp; I can fix it; just trust me with your money and your freedoms.” The real-life consequences, sadly, remain with us, despite the smooth rhetoric of those we have entrusted with our resources.

  61. NEWS FLASH:
    As the body count continues to rise, a shaken nation is struggling to cope in the wake of the mass deaths sweeping the world population. With no concrete figures available at this early stage, experts estimate at least 250,000 U.S. citizens have died in the last month alone, with death tolls across the globe reaching into the millions.
    The wave of deaths has left a brutal aftermath, rocking survivors with feelings of loss and horror, traumatizing the American cultural landscape to its core and leaving behind emotional devastation some say may take years to heal.
    What’s worse, experts say, the crisis shows no signs of letting up any time soon…
    FULL STORY HERE: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29456

  62. Media (conservative or liberal, it matters little) + stupidity among the masses = control. Every single business owner depends on his or her ability to “create” a need and then market the product that fills that need. That means that the business owner will understand that there is a little bit of stupidity in all of us, quite a bit in many of us, and completely fills every nook and cranny in some of us.

    Climate change is the word used to create the need. Which didn’t exist before. It is a created notion. There is no climate change. It was created as an advertising gimmick which created a bit of a worry in many, and completely believed by some. The trick is to figure out if you are one of the nook and cranny folks.

  63. From the article: Note that malaria isn’t ranked in this table because deaths due to malaria were attributed by WHO to climate change, underweight, and zinc and vitamin A deficiencies.

    This is why WHO is not to be trusted for honest information. They are liars and thieves. Over 1 million people die of malaria every year, and the murderers who outlawed DDT are responsible.

  64. And AGW / Climate Change benefits rich industrialised countries as it stops less developed countries industrialising and becoming economic rivals. IF they can get other countries to accept the DOOMSDAY SCENARIO.

  65. There are close to 1 billion people in this world who are, literally, starving.

    How do you know? And if it were true (the number AND the definition of STARVING…which is beyond malnutrition, brink of death), then Earth’s population would be SHRINKING.

    Ya see, I’m *so* skeptical, I can’t even let stuff like this fly, even in our own neighborhood.

    I don’t like alarmism, from either side.

  66. UK Sceptic;-)

    You mentioned stupidity, & venality, but you left out the third quality a politician needs, that being mendacity!

    Stan M;-) nice!

  67. evanmjones (22:56:37) :

    Dr. Goklany — perceptive and big-picture oriented as usual. To be commended.

    But you did leave out one thing I might have included: Namely how many die from cold.

    Dying from cold would be a direct cause (i.e., severe hypothermia). Climate change does not directly cause death. I would ask your question differently: What are the direct causes of death, related to climate change, that are included in those figures?

  68. Graeme Rodaughan (23:38:40)

    Ahhh… wrt “Who can think, who can reason, who can read” she never showed evidence of being able to read – but since that day I have never doubted that a smart dog can both think, and reason.

    Your friend’s dog should apply for a job at the WHO, she sounds qualified!

  69. First of all, I doubt a single death can be contributed to Climate Change. That being said, let’s use the assumption of the author. Seems to me that the .8 mill deaths due to indoor pollution were caused by people NOT having access to cheap energy. So if we drastically reduce our access to cheap reliable energy (read this as relying on wind and solar power), how high does this number go? Also, imagine if we spent the $50 billion building power plants for these people instead of unsuccessfully trying to prove AGW. Or even better yet, let’s take all money being spent trying to prove AGW, and use that money on the Underweight, Low Fruit/veggy, poor water, and indoor smoke. Imagine the return we would have on the $50 bill. Instead, we have computer models which still can not predict the climate 1 year ahead. What a waste!

  70. One inescapable fact: You are going to die. Of something. Since there are no longer any natural causes, we must blame every death on man-made events or activities (I note no listing for “war”, unless “lead exposure” cover that)

    Does the WHO claim if we eliminate these items/chemicals/shortages/etc. that no one will die?

  71. Dr. Goklany — I always enjoy the way you meld prose and statistics. Thank you! [I still have an old laptop with the original Civ game on it.]

    As for fruit, y’all are reminding me of Monty Python’s self-defense against fresh fruit…

  72. The defining challenge of this age is actually the exposure and defeat of the monumental, and dangerous fraud of manmade climate change. The tragedy is that there is a human cost to hobbling economies, and denying people the use of cheap, readily available, and reliable sources of energy. Money and resources that have been and will be spent fighting an entirely innocent and benign foe now being called “pollution” could instead have been spent providing clean water, providing safer sanitation, reducing disease (including respiratory disease, from burning dirty forms of energy), etc.
    We need science desperately, particularly if we are going to be going into a significant cooling period, which is looking likely. But, unfortunately, climate science has been corrupted, so while we humans are busy fighting a bogeyman, as well as hobbling ourselves energy-wise, the very real, (and far more dangerous than warming) threat of cooling is being ignored.
    Heaven help us if we don’t come to our senses, and soon.

  73. Only time for a quick response without reading any responses first.

    I would say “Climate Change” is pretty close to being a complete non-issue on its specific merits.

    I’ll agree with Indur’s comments on how biodiversity and ecosystems are the issue.

    Over the last 20 years, how many Billions have been spent on the scam of AGW?

  74. It would be helpful to list which are the high hanging fruits and vegetables so we can eliminate that problem once and for all.

    I believe high blood pressure and cholesterol are symptoms and markers of other problems so it’s hard to see how you can die from those. The “obesity epidemic” is foolishness (See the very good blog Junkfood Science article: http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/04/does-it-really-matter-how-your-numbers.html). Indoor smoke (like second-hand smoke, a “problem” ginned up by politicians rather than scientists) and Urban Ait Pollution are non-starters as well IMHO. Climate Change needs no further comment from me on this site.

    I see these are all a product of the UN under the auspices of the WHO. Color me very skeptical.

  75. We’ve got various “environmentalists” who are part of various sub-cultures who are philosophically anything from anti-modern pagans who want to go back to wearing grass skirts, to intellectuals who want a higher aspiration than just material “progress” and who desire spiritual freedom. So they all get together and think (to put it generously) that we have too much progress and too much sprawl and we need to stop, and to do that we need to unite and impose some form of control. Unfortunately what they don’t seem to acknowledge is the tremendous complexity of humanity and ecosystems and nature and culture and psychology and the whole evolutionary drive forward by Nature herself. They think they can see the future and control the present. Sorry, that’s just not true. We are just not smart enough, and unintended consequences will occur. So, let me take a guess… they want to slow down progress and reduce population? What happens when people live more poorly? Well, people have more babies. And that is a natural biological drive. That is Nature’s answer to poverty–increase the availability of muscle power and brain power. One imagines. I mean, the whole global warming thing is so simplistic, it is a reflection of the level of their thinking. More CO2, more people, more progress, more consumption…. must mean less nature and less resources and more damage. Really? That’s as sophisticated as their analysis gets? Scientists have been very very good at dealing with small technical stuff that can be experimented on in a lab in controlled conditions. As soon as they get out into the natural world, and the world of culture and psychology and motivation and development and innovation and novelty of complex evolving socio-biological systems interacting, they are lost. But somehow they think they know what is going on… bizarre.

  76. Stefan (09:43:51) : Just great! We’ve got various “environmentalists” who are part of various sub-cultures who are philosophically anything from anti-modern pagans
    And…that subculture (and also revolutionaries) began back in the 1968′, as a consequence of the liberal abuse of drugs, like marihuana, LSD,etc.

  77. Stefan: Apart from agglomerations of huge masses of people, in which the individual disappears anyway, one of the chief factors responsible for psychological mass-mindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity

    C.G.Jung: “The Undiscovered Self”

  78. In respect of that WHO table, I have to say that I’ve come to distrust the WHO since Gro Harlem Brundtland became its director general 1998-2003 and shifted its emphasis towards “lifestyle” risk factors.

    A doctor, and 3-term Norwegian prime minister, she chaired the environmentally-oriented Brundtland commission which issued the 1987 Brundtland report calling for sustainable development and greater global equity.

    She seems to have been involved in everything, and makes Al Gore look like a bit of a novice. A quote from her:

    In 1989 she was quoted in Time as saying, “There is a very close connection between being a doctor and a politician. The doctor tries to prevent illness, then tries to treat it if it comes. It’s exactly the same as what you try to do as a politician, but with regard to society.”

    Also:

    Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of the World Health Organisation, has revealed that she would not tolerate a mobile phone near her for fear of radiation. They are banned from her Geneva office, and she warned parents against letting children become frequent mobile-phone users.

    She seems to currently be a Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United Nations.

  79. Is AGW the defining issue of our age?
    Only in the sense that it is the issue that people are fixated on, and wasting incredible amounts of time and money on.
    In terms of AGW’s actual impact on humanity as a climate event?
    Zilch.
    In terms of something that policies now or in the future will do something to mitigate?
    Zilch.

  80. John:
    “In the mail today I received a packet (6 pages of inserts plus the large envelope) from Robt. Kennedy and the Natural Resources Defense Council.”

    If they included a post-paid return envelope, just fold all the materials up, stuff them into their return envelope, and send it back to them. That way you aren’t cluttering a land fill, and they can use the returned materials as bio-fuel to power their green energy initiatives…

  81. While the power elite are preparing to ‘Cap and Trade’ us back into the stone age, the lemmings are being amused by the bread and circuses…

    I give you the first 100 days! More to come.

  82. I am so depressed.

    Just returned from a visit with my aunt. She is 76 years old.

    I know she leans far left politically and therefore tried to focus on family gossip and not the current agenda to move the country in directions that I find troubling.

    Silly me. After an hour of small talk I mentioned my interest in the reluctance of solar cycle 24 to get rolling and the possible implications for the AGW thesis.

    Oops.

    Through gritted teeth she demanded that our country has got to ‘go green’ and that it’s fine with her if they use the global warming scare to achieve this end. She openly acknowledged that the planet was not warming. Cat was out of the bag. It’s the first time anyone has openly admitted to me that they approve of this colossal scam in order to achieve their Utopian fossil-fuel-free, job creating ends.

  83. The AGW crusaders aren’t helping their cause when they insult our intelligence by calling CO2 “carbon.” That is done by the warming propagandists because it is easy to think of carbon as being dirty. Apparently many people forgot what they learned in high school chemistry, which is that the properties of compounds are totally different from the properties of the separate atoms that bond together to form them. In fact, it would make as much sense to call humans “carbons” as it does to call CO2 “carbon.” It is general knowledge that CO2 is not a health hazard even in concentrations many times that of the total CO2 content of the atmosphere, of which the anthropogenic portion is a few parts in a million.

    References to “carbon pollution,” or “greenhouse gas pollution” are always in the context of wanting to tax CO2 emissions, not the more problematic particulates. Water vapor is by far the predominate greenhouse gas. Why don’t these chemistry-challenged alarmists call H2O “hydrogen,” and urge that we tax the visible “hydrogen pollution” they are always showing coming out of smokestacks and car tailpipes along with the “carbon pollution?” This would be not one bit more idiotic than what the hysterical loonies are actually doing.

  84. Cathy (12:00:09) :

    I am so depressed.

    Just returned from a visit with my aunt. She is 76 years old.

    I know she leans far left politically and therefore tried to focus on family gossip and not the current agenda to move the country in directions that I find troubling…

    Through gritted teeth she demanded that our country has got to ‘go green’ and that it’s fine with her if they use the global warming scare to achieve this end. She openly acknowledged that the planet was not warming. Cat was out of the bag. It’s the first time anyone has openly admitted to me that they approve of this colossal scam in order to achieve their Utopian fossil-fuel-free, job creating ends.
    _____
    Cathy is making an important point about the prevalence of hypocrisy and dishonesty in environmental causes. George Orwell was actually very concerned about this. Those who fabricate an end to justify the means are at the moral level of Machiavelli – not exactly a pillar of morality.

  85. Note that malaria isn’t ranked in this table because deaths due to malaria were attributed by WHO to climate change, underweight, and zinc and vitamin A deficiencies.

    Yes, Malaria is only 1.9% of annual mortalities anyway. Why bother? Reducing CO2 will take care of it.

    And while they’re at it, WHO could probably scratch several other unimportant causes of death from the records. Carbon reductions should fix them all:

    Childhood Diseases – 2.5%. Pertussis, measles and tetanus account for more than twice the death rates of malaria victims, and they are quite preventable by vaccination.

    Diarrheal Diseases – 3.8%

    HIV / Aids – 5%

    Respiratory Infections – 7.1%

    And of course Evan Jones’ observation from above

    (22:56:37) :

    Dr. Goklany — perceptive and big-picture oriented as usual. To be commended.

    But you did leave out one thing I might have included: Namely how many die from cold.

    I hope you submit this to your local and regional newspapers. The real priorities of our Congress are to obtain money and votes. Human welfare? Eh…

  86. “You could fit every human being, shoulder to shoulder, on the Isle of Wight.”

    Fact checking time. According to Wikipedia, the Ilse if Wight is 380 square kilometers. That’s 380 million square meters. Using a world population of 6.77 billion, that is 17.8 people per square meter. That means that each person occupies roughly 87 square inches. That is a space slightly smaller than 11 inches by 8 inches. Cozy. Don’t everybody breath in at the same time.

  87. “You could home every human being, with a little garden that can produce enough food to feed them, in Texas.”

    More fact checking. According to Wikipedia, the area of texas is 268,820 square miles. That is 172,044,800 acres. Again using 6.77 billion as the world population, we get 0.025 acres per person. At 43,560 Sqaure feet per acre, this is a little over 1100 square feet per person. Assuming that the housing bit is bunk beds and a out house(kind of like a prison cell) we can give living 100 square feet/person that leaves 1000 SF for food production. This is a garden that is roughly 30 feet square. Magic beans anyone?

  88. Robert (13:39:24) : You are not considering building 100 stories buildings so you could have land in excess to feed them all, of course, with texan barbecues of course.. to improve crop production.

  89. Robert,

    This was posted before, maybe you missed it:

    Allowing 6ft x 2ft x 1.5ft per person, this is 18 cubic feet [this is generous].

    Multiplying by 6.5 billion gives us 117 billion cubic feet of humanity.

    A cubic mile is 5280′ cubed. This is 5280′ x 5280′ x 5280′ feet = 147.2 billion cubic feet.

    Humanity occupies substantially less than one cubic mile. Squish them down to a depth of six feet and they could all fit in Texas, as you point out. But it’s a big world, and on average it’s not overpopulated. Not nearly.

    [Ants and termites are estimated to occupy just under 10 cubic miles.]

    The Earth could very easily have double or even triple the current population with no problem — if contries had responsible governments. People still starve in the world. But the cause is the same everywhere: bad government [compare North & South Korea, Somalia & Egypt, etc.]

    Substantially raising the cost of energy is going to directly impact the lives of the 1 billion people who subsist on one dollar or less per day, because energy is generally fungible; when the cost of energy goes up here, the cost will go up in Africa, too. Cap & Trade will just as certainly kill people as a war would. And it could all be avoided.

  90. I sincerely hope our leaders will be responsive to constituents who ask them to just reallign their priorities.

    Environmental and health problems haven’t gone away, even in rich societies, and we know this.

    As the WHO mortality figures show, more than 7% of deaths are from respiratory diseases. Especially in third-world countries, the diseases of the respiratory system are aggravated by known pollutants – particulates, sulfur and nitogen compounds. We know the water western city-dwellers are drinking contains new and harmful pollutants that are being introduced upstream.

    Mitigating air and water for the usual toxic suspects as well as for the barage of new and worrisome compounds will require constant vigilance and funding which can and should be made available.

    CO2 is not the problem.

    Bjorn Lomborg’s take on the environmental issue is commendable in its simplicity:

    We need to remind ourselves that our ultimate goal is not to reduce greenhouse gasses or global warming per se, but to improve the quality of life and the environment.

    The problem, as I think has been stated here before, is not with environmentalism, nor with moderate environmentalists; it is that politicians and businessmen have hijacked this worthwhile and pragmatically-effective adjunct to all progress, and introduced hysteria in the form of the strawman argument. The most cynical evil of all is the subversion of easily-mitigated problems of human welfare to dollars and votes.

    The notion of social conscience was at one time associated as much with the right as with the left. If each arm in turn of a polarized society takes advantage of its tenure to “overreach” and outgrasp its predecessor, it remains for those in the center to bring both arms back into abeyance. Hopefully we all will remember, sooner or later, where our priorites lie.

  91. Mike Nicholson (02:46:10) : “[...] Please correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I read, about 95% of the greenhouse effect is created by water vapour, and that only about 3.6% is created by CO2. Given that only 3.2% of all CO2 is produced by mankind, [...] even if mankind suddenly ceased to exist, the effect on the climate would be ludicrously small. Or have I got it all wrong??

    The debate is about change in global temps, so your figures can be all correct yet dismissed as irrelevant (as happens to every inconvenient fact).

    The IPCC only attributes about 40% of its projected global warming to CO2 directly. It relies on “feedbacks” from water vapour and clouds for the remaining 60% (c.20%, 40% resp). It is now clear, from recent peer-reviewed papers, that these “feedbacks” are not happening. In fact, absolutely nothing predicted by the IPCC is actually happening.

    As this is yet another inconvenient fact, it is of course being ignored.

  92. Wow, only .03 deaths contributed to “CO2 drive the climate” theory.
    You would think the population crowd would want that figure higher and protest against any type of CO2 regulation.
    But aren’t they the same ones that want to regulate CO2?

  93. A change of minus a few degrees of mean global temperature would be a significant challenge. That is the type of climate change I personally worry about.

  94. News we can’t hear enough:

    April 29, 2009

    Roy Spencer rips the IPCC and “climate thugs”
    “The IPCC has advertised itself to be the most authoritative scientific body for keeping the world informed on man-made climate change. But the IPCC is more of a policy-oriented body that uses cherry-picked scientific research to further its agenda. Their enlistment of most of the world’s leading climate researchers allows them to simply dismiss any other scientists who disagree with them. Their goal has always been to build the scientific case for global warming being man made and damaging, thereby enabling governmental control over the world’s energy supply. The free market will no longer be free.

    The IPCC is supported by climate thugs who run the website RealClimate.org where they demonize any scientists who dare to disagree with the “scientific consensus” on global warming. These folks still don’t realize something that even the public knows: “Consensus” is a political term, not a scientific one.

    And in the process of achieving their goals, the leaders of the IPCC have corrupted a scientific discipline for their own political, philosophical, financial and career-enhancement reasons. The blame does not lie with the hundreds of climate scientists involved in the IPCC effort. They are largely along for the ride, being assured of continued government funding for research to work on a topic that everyone agrees sounds important— saving the Earth from climate change.

    But whereas climatology used to involve collecting and analyzing observations of the Earth in order to figure out how nature works, most climate research money is now funneled into increasingly expensive and complex computerized climate models—which are claimed to be correct simply because they are so expensive and so complex.

    The time has long passed for Americans to demand that the activities of the IPCC be reviewed. For instance, the IPCC never seriously investigated the possibility that climate change might be largely natural. After all, natural climate variability is its enemy: It distracts from the claim that mankind is now the main driver of the climate system.

    The IPCC insists that increasing CO2 due to mankind is the only known reason for global warming. And it is right—it is the only one known to IPCC scientists because they have covered their eyes and ears whenever they are confronted with evidence to the contrary. The IPCC has never asked for government funding of research to see if, just maybe, there are natural reasons for global warming.

    And this is where new science is chipping away at the house of cards the IPCC has built for itself. I now believe that the IPCC’s most significant scientific blunder has been its continuing insistence that global cloud cover, the main determinant of global temperatures, always remains the same. For if global cloud cover can change naturally, then global temperatures can also change naturally, and that would open the door to the possibility that global warming is more natural than man made. …
    The IPCC’s second major scientific blunder has been its use of computerized climate models as the ultimate authority to answer climate questions. Contrary to our actual observations of the climate system, these models predict that the little bit of warming from the extra CO2 we pump into the atmosphere will be greatly amplified by changes in clouds. But the available satellite evidence of the real climate system, when interpreted properly, shows just the opposite: Clouds tend to reduce warming tendencies in the climate system, not amplify them.

    The IPCC knows about this discrepancy between its models and the observations, but their explanation is that the models are right and the observations are wrong. …

    If you are wondering why NASA’s James Hansen—the godfather of global warming research—thinks the climate system is hypersensitive to the extra CO2, it is because he ignores the observational evidence from today’s climate system. He instead relies upon speculative and unprovable interpretations of how the climate system was allegedly working hundreds of thousands to millions of years ago. …

    It is time for the public to tell our elected representatives to start asking some hard questions about our country’s reliance on the IPCC for definitive answers regarding global warming. The IPCC’s demand to be believed just because it has created the largest infrastructure and the biggest climate models should be tolerated no longer.” “Global Warming Gloom and Doom Cools Off”

    http://heliogenic.blogspot.com/2009/04/roy-spencer-rips-ipcc-and-climate-thugs.html

  95. “”” crosspatch (22:45:32) :

    Considering that it is estimated that about 2 million children under 5 die from diarrhea every year, I think that “unsafe water” number might be low. Measles kills about 500,000. About the same number die from flu every year.

    If we are worried about “climate change” then it means times much really be so good we have no real pressing concerns to occupy ourselves with. “””

    Well the proper term for that diarrhea is probably Cholera, which you almost can’t cure, because it has already done its damage by the time the D symptoms develop.

    Luckily the treatment is extremely simple and very effective; namely electrolyte replacement. A cholera victim literally cannot drink enough water to stop the dehydration; even if they stuck a running hose down their throat.
    But replacing the lost salts etc can bring a child back from the very brink of imminent death; essentially super Gatorade is the ticket. The disease has already run its course but you have to stop the liquid loss due to destruction of the surface layer of the colon cells.

  96. The news that it could get VERY cold in the next two decades is slowly seeping into the heads of state in China and the Mid East Countries.

    The linked article http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/bp/bp013.asp speaks clearly of purchasing land in areas (eg Africa) likely to be productive during climate cooling. So far the Press has atributed it to high food proces, but that will soon change.

    Then Climate Change will truly be seen as the Defining Challenge…

  97. J.Hansford (22:08:24) :

    Without cheap energy, you cannot produce cheap and plentiful water and food or build effective industry.

    Exactly! Probably followed by the fall of civilization.

  98. My great-grandfather came over the Oregon Trail in 1878. He got snowbound in the Wallowa valley, unable to get through the months long blizzard conditions in the Blues at that time and continue on to the Willamette Valley, his original destination. Because of the remoteness of the Wallowa valley and lack of infrastructure to connect area to area, the people of the valley developed their own homegrown industries, eventually shipping timber and lumber, cream, butter, wool, livestock, both on and off the hoof, and flour out of the county and into areas that were timber heavy but farm and ranch poor.

    What did we use for energy? Most everything was run on work animal energy, wood, oil, coal, and water power. But even that was heavily supplemented with elbow grease. There was even a refrigeration company. They would go down to the rivers and streams and cut ice blocks for delivery to sawdust and straw insulated ice houses. Some families had their own, others shared their’s. The house I currently live in on the weekends still has an icehouse as well as a shelf-lined cellar that could function as food storage tomorrow if I needed it. Beyond that, a bit of cash and the barter system worked quite well to keep a roof over your head, fill everyone’s bellies, put shoes on your feet, and warm clothes on your backs.

    We are not too far removed from that time, especially if the cost of energy, in particular, green energy, gets out of hand, and it turns nasty cold. But I’m not worried. When things get tough, there are still people around who will find a way to survive and even thrive in cold, dry landscapes. We are no better than the animals around us at doing that, but they seem to do pretty well. So I’m not worried. Nature will take its course. Grasshoppers will fail to store up food, and squirrels will fill every hollow tree with it. This is just the way life is. There isn’t much you can do to convince grasshoppers to change their habits and prepare for shortages, or cold, or lack of income. And you can’t stop squirrels from getting ready for bad times.

    Now I am not one to be the town crier heralding a coming ice age. But grandma always said, even in the blistering heat of summer, “take your jacket with you”. She was a squirrel.

  99. You shouldn’t require three posts to answer the question in the title. You don’t even need three letters, just two, NO. The real “Defining Challenge of Our Age” is the struggle of science and rationality to survive and hopefully prevail against the power hungry ideologues who have discovered that serially creating and exploiting fantasy catastrophe crises is a dandy way of amassing power and control over the rest of us. Unfortunately the forces of science, logic and rationality are beginning to resemble that lonely group of valiant Jewish rebels holed up at Masada with the full power of imperial Rome arrayed against them. In these days the forces of empire include an educational system entirely dedicated to telling its’ students what to think and not at all interested in teaching them how to think. Arrayed alongside we have the legions of “news”,advertising, and entertainment types who are either ignorant stooges or active accomplices in spreading the propaganda that supports today’s chosen “Big Lie”. Like the defenders at Masada the defenders of science find their supplies dwindling as they are systematically excluded from funding and publication of their work. But what they do have that Masada lacked, which will hopefully break the depressing trend of this analogy, is a line of communication to those nascent rebels who are beginning to chafe under the increasing strictures of imperial rule. This site and others like it constitute that line of communication, but unless the readers here are willing to take what they learn and amplify and spread the message, which admittedly can be a maddening and thankless task, I fear my Masada analogy will come to closure with the forces of true science sharing the same fate as that rocky fortress.

  100. I think the modest warming we enjoyed during the last century has been overall beneficial in lots of ways. That’s not surprising, as history teaches us that mankind prospers when the world gets warmer. It’s when the world gets colder that people starve and civilisations fail.

    The Nature article mentions malnutrition as a cause of death linked to AGW. About a year ago I found some data from one of the world organisations, it might have been the World Agricultural Organisation. The data, up to around 2005, showed that the global amount of food produced per head of population had been steadily rising. In other words, the amount of food was increasing faster than the population. So much for alarmism. It’s ironic that one factor contributing to this increase is almost certainly that well-known pollutant, carbon dioxide.

    It’s also ironic that the Nature summary says: “….and sprawling cities where the urban heat island effect could intensify extreme climatic events”. Oooops, I thought UHI didn’t exist or was entirely insignificant, according to the alarmists. If UHI can kill people, imagine what it could do to the temperature measurements that underpin AGW!

    Chris

  101. “How can local (African for example) farmers compete with EU subsidies where imported food is cheaper than locally grown food?”

    Simple – they subsidise their own food prices. What, they cannot, you say?

    Well the full answer is that Africa is poor and cannot subside food prices, but that is only so because of political and social corruption, and the fact that Africans cannot/will not work as hard or efficiently as Westerners.

    By rights Africa should be the richest continent in the world, as it has every resource possible. It has also has had self-determination for thousands of years prior to the Empire and 50 years post the Empire. Yet Africa still cannot feed itself, let alone produce wealth.

    And let us not fall into the Liberal trap of saying the Empire held Africa back. The Empire built nearly all of the infrastructure that Africa still uses today, plus installed tried and trusted political and social management structures, so that Africa might prosper.

    However – under the Empire, Rhodesia used to feed much of Africa, while under local rule it survives on hand-outs from the UN World Food Program.

    The plight of Africa in NOT the West’s problem, it is an African problem.

  102. It has nothing to do with education, Pamela. It has to do with the fact that they will not help themselves. The truth is often unpleasant, but it is still the truth.

  103. An interesting reality jumps out when you study Mann’s bristlecone proxy data and the infamous “hockey stick” graphic his process produces. The reality the tree ring data and Mann’s graphic reveal is that nothing has done more to “GREEN” the planet in the past few decades than elevated levels of CO2 in the presence of mild sun-driven warming. That’s the natural science. In the face of huge volumes of data and studies to the contrary, political science has twisted this reality in a truly breath-taking Orwellian manner into 1) warming similar to the Roman Warm Period and Medieval Warm Period is bad, 2) warming is caused by an infinitesimal trace gas essential to life supporting photosynthesis, 3) human’s 3% annual contribution to a CO2 starved biosphere is putting the planet at some sort of risk. Just how high would fuel bills have to be elevated by Cap Tax to cut world hydrocarbon output by 1/3, or net 1%? What would such a reduction do to accumulations of CO2? That’s right, it’s quite literally in the noise, if you know anything about control theory. The cost is off the page. Like this recession? Then just wait for Cap&Tax. All of this then begs the question, “If humans can’t reasonably be expected to control the production of CO2, how they can possibly be responsible for the, as yet unproven, horrors of Global Warming?” The answer is, “they cannot and are not responsible.” The true proxy is the political science myth of Global Warming, foisted on a scientifically illiterate public as a distracting red herring to deal with the operational and economic exigencies of permanently declining oil production worldwide without actually revealing or discussing in the open media the most critical national security issue of our time. Doubt this assertion? Then just read all of the IPCC technical reports together with the most recent IEA oil production forecast. Too hard and time consuming? Okay, then just relax and believe the propaganda.

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